Friday, December 21, 2007

The times, they are a changin'

I had the distinct pleasure a couple months ago to witness my eight-year-old grandson, Ethan, at his first Bob Dylan concert. I know, there must be some of you asking, “What are these people thinking taking an eight-year-old to a Dylan concert?”

First and foremost, you need to know Ethan to understand. He’s the coolest eight-year-old you could ever know, and he’s been a huge Dylan fan since he was four. I’m willing to bet no one out there knows a four-year-old who has or had a Dylan poster in his bedroom, or a six-year-old as transfixed as he was by PBS’ No Direction Home (under the watchful eye of his parents, of course).

Ethan’s birthday was the week of the concert, and his parents decided it was finally ok for him to go to a concert. So off he went with his dad, grandfather and two uncles—a real guys’ night out. His family made certain he had the entire experience including tailgating with his favorite food, a game of football, and, of course, the required purchase of a Dylan t-shirt.

When I met them inside the concert gates, Ethan was leaning on the rail, binoculars up, looking at the opening act and ready to burst from excitement to see “the man” himself. It was a sobering experience for me to see my grandson at a concert, realizing he was old enough to be there. Where has the time gone?

I hear Ethan was somewhat disappointed because he didn’t hear his favorite song, Hurricane, and he couldn’t tell what was being played because Dylan changes his music so dramatically in concert. The favorites are there, just with music that’s not what you’re used to hearing. If you catch the words, you know; if you don’t catch the words, you don’t know. Regardless, it was a night I’m sure Ethan will never forget, nor will I.

Bob, if you see this, know that one of your biggest fans is just a kid and you still have what it takes to enthrall. For my part, there’s truly no direction home after experiencing a Dylan concert. Life just feels a little different and a little better for having been there.

Sue Vanskiver
Senior Administrative Assistant

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